Name: Marie “Mary” Rabe (Kobel), daughter of Michael Rabe and Catharina Louisa Mueller of Germany.
Born: about 1808 in Liege, Belgium.
Married: 1826 in Germany to Heinrich Kobel.
Maria “Mary” Kobel (Clausen) (1827-1903)
Wilhelm “William” Kobel (1830-1900)
Jacob Heinrich Kobel (1833-1900)
Died: after 1900 in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany
Schloss Schwerin, Deutschland
In Mecklenburg during the 1700s and 1800s a type of Feudalism existed known as “Inherited Serfdom”. The land owners controlled the economy and ruled their estates with absolute authority.
The peasants were dependent entirely on the nobles who could even buy and sell them with or without their property. The tax rate on the peasants had to be reviewed every two to three years, and was usually increased at that time. They could not acquire any more land than they already had.
Their Landlords produced crops for export from their vast estates by using the labor of these bonded peasants, servants and laborers. The landlords were known as “Landjunker”. This word comes from “Jung Herr” which means “young noble”.
By the 1800’s the Landlords had driven away more and more peasants with their highhanded ways. They then incorporated those peasants’ plots into their estates, and crop production expanded further. This callous robbery of the peasant properties was known as “peasant seizure”. Ten thousand peasants lost their holdings in this way.
In Mecklenburg, where the Nobility owned almost all of the land and dwellings, the number of estimated peasant foreclosures went from 2,490 to nearly 12,000 by 1800 AD. The former peasants who had land left held only small holdings which ensured little more than a bare livelihood for themselves.
In 1807 Baron von Stein tried to carry through a reform of the Feudal system. He felt the peasants’ and laborers’ lot had to be improved. He did not want to abolish the large Landholders, but they were to be limited in their political and administrative powers and to improve the state of their workers.
At that time, workers worked from sunrise to sunset for a pfennig an hour, a very small amount. the value of goods (potatoes, corn, wood, etc.) was deducted from that and most of their work was paid for by these goods. Women and children performed heavy work.
Baron von Stein’s reform said that peasants could now change their place of residence without permission, and children were allowed to learn a trade. But the Landlords fought these progressive measures, refused to implement them, and the edict of Baron von Stein was never executed.
From 1806 to 1813 the country suffered great hardship and destruction.